E-cigarette Use Triples among Middle and High School Students in Last Year

According to just-released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 2 million high school students and almost half a million middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2014. E-cigarettes have taken over as the most commonly used tobacco product among high school and middle school students. Youth use of traditional cigarettes continues to decline – only 9.2 percent of high school students reported smoking cigarettes in 2014 compared to 16 percent in 2011.  

The use of e-cigarettes among high schoolers rose from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. Among middle school students the use of e-cigarettes tripled, from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014.

“We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it’s an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a press release from CDC. “Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.”

According to a CSG Capitol Research brief published in Feb. 2015, 41 states have laws prohibiting the purchase of e-cigarettes and related products by minors. The F.D.A. is considering a rule to ban sales to minors nationally.

In a New York Times article, a youth told the reporter he just went online and bought equipment and nicotine liquid, clicking yes he was of legal age. Other students reported asking older youth to buy e-cigarettes for them at convenience stores and vape shops.  

The data come from the annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, which surveyed 22,000 students in public and private middle and high schools across the country.